Industry in brief | Ipsen, Karo Pharma, Probi

Industry in brief | Ipsen, Karo Pharma, Probi

23 April 2021 - Deborah Wilkes

Ipsen, Karo Pharma and Probi have released financial results for the first quarter of 2021.

Ipsen Consumer Healthcare’s sales decline

Ipsen’s Consumer Healthcare business recorded sales of EUR47.0 million (USD56.9 million) in the first quarter of 2021, representing a fall of 9.6% compared to the same period a year earlier. At constant currencies, sales were down by 5.4%.

The French company said the fall reflected the “ongoing effects of COVID-19, partly offset by recovery in China”.

The gastrointestinal product Smecta was Consumer Healthcare's largest product, but sales were down by 4.9% at constant currencies to EUR16.3 million.

Ipsen said the decline had been driven by the “slowdown of the diarrhoea market in Europe, partly offset by the recovery in China”.

Sales of the second-largest product, the Forlax laxative, were down by 5.6% at constant currencies to EUR9.1 million.

The Tanakan ginkgo biloba product, recorded sales down by 10.0% at constant currencies to EUR8.5 million. Ipsen said the fall was compared to a high level of demand in Russia in the same period a year earlier.

Sales of Fortrans/Eziclen increased by 6.1% at constant currencies to EUR6.8 million. Ipsen said the rise reflected the recovery in China.

Sales of Other Consumer Healthcare products dropped by 10.6% to EUR6.3 million at constant currencies.

The business accounted for 7.1% of Ipsen’s total sales which were up by 5.5% at constant currencies to EUR659 million. Sales as reported were up by 0.6%.

Ipsen announced in December 2020 that the Consumer Healthcare business is “non-core” (click here to read the News story).

The French pharmaceutical company said its strategic review was still “ongoing”.

Karo Pharma’s sales dropped by 10%

Sweden’s Karo Pharma reported sales of SEK713 million (USD85.1 million) in the first quarter of 2021, representing a drop of 10% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Excluding the impact of portfolio and currency changes, sales were down by 16% on an organic basis.

The company noted that acquisitions had contributed growth of 7% in the period while currency changes had a negative impact of 1%.

Chief executive officer Christoffer Lorenzen said the drop in organic sales growth was explained “primarily by challenging comparable financials”. He pointed out that in March 2020 Karo had seen a sales spike as consumers stockpiled, and wholesalers and pharmacies increased inventories in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking ahead, Lorenzen said Karo expected to turn up investments in sales and marketing as the COVID-19 pandemic eased its grip on societies. “Such increased expenditure will be required to defend and grow market shares – particularly to address the ongoing consumer shift to online channels – and will play an important part in executing Karo’s continued growth strategy,” he added.

Karo’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) were up by 24% to SEK260 million.

Sweden was the company’s largest market with sales of SEK190 million, accounting for 27% of sales. Norway and Denmark generated a further 19% and 10% respectively.

In the first quarter of 2021, around 70% of Karo's sales were generated by OTC products.

Karo’s pain, cough and cold products – led by Paracet painkillers – experienced a 60% drop in sales during the quarter as social distancing measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the incidence of coughs, colds and flu.

Sales on the rise at Probi

Swedish probiotics specialist Probi reported worldwide sales up by 8.6% to SEK171 million (USD20.4 million) in the first quarter of 2021. On a constant-currency basis, sales were up by 20.3% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Chief executive officer Tom Rönnlund said the Americas – Probi’s largest geographic region – continued to “develop well with sales up by 22% on a constant-currency basis".

However, Rönnlund added that the weakening of the US dollar meant sales as reported were only up by 6.4% to SEK122 million.

Around 71% of Probi’s sales were generated in the Americas, with a further 21% coming from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and the remaining 8% from Asia-Pacific.

Rönnlund highlighted that sales in the EMEA region had risen by 18.5% as reported to SEK35.2 million.

He noted that Probi had delivered the first orders to Perrigo which is launching dietary supplements in 14 European countries under the Probify brand name (click here to read the News story).

Sales in the APAC region were up by 5.3% as reported to SEK13.8 million.

Rönnlund noted that Probi had recently entered into a strategic partnership for the Chinese market with China’s Sinopharm (click here to read the News story).

Probi’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 57.9% to SEK47.1 million, giving an EBITDA margin of 27.5%.

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